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Article: Impact of Color on Perception of Loudness

amirm

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#1
This is a digest of an interesting study I posted elsewhere on the impact of color on our perception of loudness. It is based on the paper presented at the International Congress on Acoustics (ICA):

Colour-influences on loudness judgements
Daniel Menzel, Norman Haufe, Hugo Fastl
AG Technische Akustik, MMK, Technische Universität München, Germany

Hugo Fastl is one of our authorities on psychoacoustics so when he talks, or rather writes, I take notice :).

The test was simple enough:
1575432985123.png

1575433081358.png

In a nutshell, the listener would have to determine how loud something is while a color image was displayed in front of them on the LCD monitor. Different images were used for each trial. I will just post the one using controls that may be on some audio gear:

1575433283276.png
Depending on the color of said control, this is how the perception of identical sounds rated:

1575433339560.png

The results indicate that when pink radio controls were presented, the listener thought the loudness was the highest! Conversely black controls made the listeners think loudness was lower than other colors.

This reminds of of years ago hearing that Mark Levinson amplifiers had a reputation for "dark sound." Could it have been because their gear was mostly black?

Anyway, while we usually talk about other factors impacting our impression of sound, it is remarkable that factors like color of gear can impact what we perceive.

Audiophiles often deploy (useless) tweaks and report volume changes. Perhaps the visual factor is contributing to that.

I will leave you with the paper abstract:

1575433680513.png


And the important lesson of using blind/controlled testing to eliminate all factors but sound....
 

RayDunzl

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#3
Who would have guessed Pink?

I note that dim gray is perceived at a similar level... a dim, but not dark room, comes to mind...
 

gene_stl

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#4
According to this BBC video article the color of your mug affects the taste of your tea.


That line of hoods looks like an assembly line for nuclear weapons. :eek:
Upon due consideration , I wonder who this "researcher" is. I think that most of his conclusions and recommendations are incorrect. You don't need to use Deionized water to make your tea unless you live in an extreme hard water area.
Although he cites benefits of long steeping it also can make the tea bitter.
And the color of the mug. Expectation bias and placebo effect , wouldn't you say.
 
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ernestcarl

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#5
According to this BBC video article the color of your mug affects the taste of your tea.


That line of hoods looks like an assembly line for nuclear weapons. :eek:
Upon due consideration , I wonder who this "researcher" is. I think that most of his conclusions and recommendations are incorrect. You don't need to use Deionized water to make your tea unless you live in an extreme hard water area.
Although he cites benefits of long steeping it also can make the tea bitter.
And the color of the mug. Expectation bias and placebo effect , wouldn't you say.
I seem to have inadvertently followed such instructions for years. I use filtered watered, not straight from the tap. I generally leave it longer: 3-5min — but less so with black tea. And I use a maroon (dark reddish mug) half the time — other half white. I have a blue mug, but for whatever reason don’t use that with tea. The ending reaction shot though was a bit much.

*expectation bias
 
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ernestcarl

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#6
This is a digest of an interesting study I posted elsewhere on the impact of color on our perception of loudness. It is based on the paper presented at the International Congress on Acoustics (ICA):

Colour-influences on loudness judgements
Daniel Menzel, Norman Haufe, Hugo Fastl
AG Technische Akustik, MMK, Technische Universität München, Germany

Hugo Fastl is one of our authorities on psychoacoustics so when he talks, or rather writes, I take notice :).

The test was simple enough:


In a nutshell, the listener would have to determine how loud something is while a color image was displayed in front of them on the LCD monitor. Different images were used for each trial. I will just post the one using controls that may be on some audio gear:

Depending on the color of said control, this is how the perception of identical sounds rated:


The results indicate that when pink radio controls were presented, the listener thought the loudness was the highest! Conversely black controls made the listeners think loudness was lower than other colors.

This reminds of of years ago hearing that Mark Levinson amplifiers had a reputation for "dark sound." Could it have been because their gear was mostly black?

Anyway, while we usually talk about other factors impacting our impression of sound, it is remarkable that factors like color of gear can impact what we perceive.

Audiophiles often deploy (useless) tweaks and report volume changes. Perhaps the visual factor is contributing to that.

I will leave you with the paper abstract:

View attachment 41352

And the important lesson of using blind/controlled testing to eliminate all factors but sound....
Synesthetes likely experience changes even moreso.
 

beefkabob

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#7
As my favorite musician of all time once said...
"It takes a lot of courage to say this, but um
I see sounds"
 

Theo

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#8
Works also with the weather. Isn't music livelier when the sun is shining?
 
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#9
I have only one word for this & it's psychological category "retarded". Our brain is a processing but also protective mechanism for our organism as whole. Its true that if we are in the good mood our level of hormones will rise (including: serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline) which will also result in increased brain activity and our perception sensitivity & analytical cognitive activity of it will increase. Of course this can be triggered & by warm colour's up to the certain amount. Better case would be to trigger it with multi stimulation. In the morning after good night sleep and morning exercises do your favorite relaxation thing (anything that makes you feel happy) with a cup of sweat hot coffee & you are ready to go. Of course this mood can't last for long as our brain gets overwhelmed with this sudden increase of informations to process so in order to protect himself and organising as whole it reduces the sensitivity rounding the perception felling to what it consider normal. It works for all of ur senses like this. When some senses are not present it tries to compensate with putting more processesing to other one's. That's why for instance we tend to listen to the music in relaxed state with our eyes closed and giving our imagination a push being actually able to visualise performer or instrument better & it's placement in space (stage).
 

PierreV

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#10
Hmmm...

https://www.acoustics.asn.au/conference_proceedings/ICA2010/cdrom-ICA2010/papers/p175.pdf

"at least 11 subjects"

"but the effects showed large interindividual variability. Some subjects were apparently not influenced by the presented visual stimuli, while others over- or underestimated loudness by about 1 to 5% with maxima up to 9%"


multiple sessions, inconsistent results

1575446214329.png


clustering (aka cherry picking on that small a sample size)...

"The first group with ten subjects shows no colour influence, relative shift in loudness judgement / % n = 10 F(4,36) = 1.4; p = 0.24 c1 c6 c7 c22 c17 −15 −10 −5 0 5 10 15 20 n = 5 F(4,16) = 5.3; p = 0.0065 ∗ ∗∗ c1 c6 c7 c22 c17 colour Figure 9: Grouping of subjects for loudness judgements of cars combined with differently coloured video sequences of a car passing by. while the second group with five subjects rates sounds combined with c1 and c7 as louder compared to c17. "

testing for multiple scenarios and clustering on small sample size, no wonder some effect was seen.

Note: I am not denying the existence of interactions between the senses, the impact of the environment but... :rolleyes:

But I concede that maybe I have read that paper in a wrongly colored room, listening to the wrong type of music...
 

Hipper

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#13
The thing is we don't listen to music whilst looking at a screen or gear - at least I don't. I listen in a semi dark room (painted a light grey), sometimes with my eyes half or fully closed. Nor do I concentrate on what I'm looking at but, if I do concentrate on anything it is what I'm listening to. I try to avoid distractions.

I would be interested in similar tests though looking at the whole room ambience - colour, smell, ionisation - perhaps.

Then there's our health. I can't help thinking the fitter we are the better we hear. I felt that when I lost weight and was generally more active I heard better.
 

ernestcarl

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#14
I have only one word for this & it's psychological category "retarded". Our brain is a processing but also protective mechanism for our organism as whole. Its true that if we are in the good mood our level of hormones will rise (including: serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline) which will also result in increased brain activity and our perception sensitivity & analytical cognitive activity of it will increase. Of course this can be triggered & by warm colour's up to the certain amount. Better case would be to trigger it with multi stimulation. In the morning after good night sleep and morning exercises do your favorite relaxation thing (anything that makes you feel happy) with a cup of sweat hot coffee & you are ready to go. Of course this mood can't last for long as our brain gets overwhelmed with this sudden increase of informations to process so in order to protect himself and organising as whole it reduces the sensitivity rounding the perception felling to what it consider normal. It works for all of ur senses like this. When some senses are not present it tries to compensate with putting more processesing to other one's. That's why for instance we tend to listen to the music in relaxed state with our eyes closed and giving our imagination a push being actually able to visualise performer or instrument better & it's placement in space (stage).
Fatigue certainly heightens sensitivity.
 
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#15
Fatigue certainly heightens sensitivity.
Fatigue can only reduce sensitivity along with ability to focus. I think you meant irritability under exposure to common level of noise like when you have hangover but that's it's (brains) way to make you stop as it can not neither process it or defend from it anymore. If you already milked the seratinin - dopamine that your organisation whose able to produce that's it until it produces more. Its possible to fry receptors with over exposure with stimulants (severe abuse of it) but in most cases they will recover over time that's if you aren't to old.
 

ernestcarl

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#16
Fatigue can only reduce sensitivity along with ability to focus. I think you meant irritability under exposure to common level of noise like when you have hangover but that's it's (brains) way to make you stop as it can not neither process it or defend from it anymore. If you already milked the seratinin - dopamine that your organisation whose able to produce that's it until it produces more. Its possible to fry receptors with over exposure with stimulants (severe abuse of it) but in most cases they will recover over time that's if you aren't to old.
"Irritability" is probably the better fitting word, yes. I may have been thinking of "stress" in general rather than plain fatigue -- i.e. fight-flight response and heightened sensitivity.
 
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#17
"Irritability" is probably the better fitting word, yes. I may have been thinking of "stress" in general rather than plain fatigue -- i.e. fight-flight response and heightened sensitivity.
The outcome is the same irritation, nerve tension stress is modern killer number one. Never the less fatigue - stress state is similar one. Stress is when you push it even more beyond when you're brain tells you enough is enough. Qure relaxation & B complex of vitamins.
 

MediumRare

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#18
According to this BBC video article the color of your mug affects the taste of your tea.
In all the food research we did, we needed to ensure DBT with special attention to the words setting up the test (the "concept" of the product for the customer), the package color (must be a standard white with standard black font) and samples needed special letter codes (e.g. J, T, G, never A, B, C) because all of those variables would significantly affect the results, i.e. the TASTE of the food.
 

Berwhale

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#19
Does the movie industry have something say about this? If the effect is real & measurable, then you would expect movie soundtrack loudness to be adjusted to compensate. Would a sound engineer working on a soundtrack (presumably whilst watching the film) unconsciously alter the levels based on what they are seeing?
 
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#20
Gosh, my Quad amp and preamp are a deep tan, I wonder what they sound like. My ESL's are black with mahogany trim but they are anything but dark sounding, they just sound great.

I found this report quite interesting, timely, as I am just in the process of redecorating my listening room.
 
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